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When you learn to read fast, you also write faster

Updated on February 1, 2013

All slow readers have one thing in common. They hear the words in their mind. Some of them repeat those words subconsciously. Some of the extremely slow readers can be found muttering words when reading silently. This habit known as vocalization, is perhaps the greatest stumbling block in speed reading or reading fast. There are hundreds of books and internet resources teaching you how to overcome vocalization so as to read fast. If you cannot get over this habit you cannot read faster than you talk. A common recommendation offered is to keep your mouth occupied while reading. This way you allow the ideas inherent in words to be directly comprehended by your brain rather than engaging the brain in having to workout how to read each word. There are several ways to keep you brain occupied - munch something while reading or chew some chewing gum or hum a musical tune.

The other bad habit that hinders fast reading speed is regression. Do you keep moving back wards frequently to read words/phrases/sentences that you have already read? If yes, you are slowing down your reading speed. If you can break these two nasty reading habits, a baggage carried over from your childhood days, you are well on your way to read fast. If you can read fast, you can also write fast.

Reading engages brain alongwith senses. The senses engaged include eyes, ears and mouth. Speed reading engages them to a greater degree in comparison to the others. They can use brain power more efficiently. You see words as you go reading, but in what manner do you see them? Prior to the decade of 1920s, experts and researchers thought people read word by word, that is only one word at a time, moving your eyes across a page from left to right. However, the truth is that most of us barring beginning readers read that way. Our eyes run in spurts, taking a chunk of words in a go or in in quick glances known as eye fixations.

Here are some important points about speed reading:

(i) You read not one word but several words together, unless you are stumbled by a new word not encountered before.

(ii) With practice you may be able to grasp several words together with one glance of your eyes. This may require you to expand your vision. Eventually, like any good reader you may be able to see and process over 10 words together with each eye fixation, so your eyes will move not left to right, but top to bottom.

(iii) With expanded vision, you can learn grasp words top to bottom well as horizontally. In other words, it is possible to read and understand two to three sentences together with one eye fixation, that is, a single glace.

(iv) Speed reading is all about silent reading. However, when you vocalize in soft whisper or even read word by word in your mind, it slows down your reading speed. Although this is fine for nursery kids, you need to break out of this habit to read fast.

(v) You can read fast if you can decode words fast while reading. If you have a fairly large vocabulary you will be able to read fast unhindered because you don't have to break your reading speed to decode the words you are not familiar with. In other words, in order to read fast you will have to develop your vocabulary.

(vi) Speed reading needs the ability to sustain your concentration. As you read fast, you have to remain focused as you read the words. You also need to remain aware of the central idea presented in the text.

There are several advantages of speed reading. It enhances comprehension ability. This ability to read in context improves comprehension because each word in the sentence instead of standing alone, is contextually related to the other words.

When you learn to be a fast reader, you can also write faster. As a fast reader, you are not just reading at a great speed but also comprehending more in comparison to a normal speed reader. Additionally, you go on enhancing your reading list. Actually, all of these are related. Reading fast builds along with development of vocabulary and both feed upon each other. The quality of reading fast turns you into a voracious reader. In order to write faster and better, you need to have a sound vocabulary, information, and ideas. These are the things you acquire as you continue to read more and more along with building up your vocabulary.

However, many experts believe that fast reading lowers your comprehension. It is unlikely that anyone can write effectively with lesser comprehension. We need to disentangle this issue here. Fast reading should not be confused with hasty reading. Also, it is not necessary that a fast reader would be able to read everything fast. For example, if a fast reader is given a book or any other reading material, such as a book on engineering science that they may not be familiar with, the reading speed will likely slow down. The implication is clear - fast reading is linked to comprehension, and the ability to comprehend is linked to several factors including familiarity, and vocabulary among them. In other words, when you try to read fast if you are not a naturally fast reader, you are unlikely to comprehend the reading material. It is unlikely that any one would be able to write faster with lesser level of comprehension.

Any one wanting to learn to read fast cannot begin to read fast overnight. The first thing to know in learning to read fast is the reasons that hinder fast reading. Once you identify these reasons, you can take steps to get over them. It is important to realize that mere understanding of why you can't read fast will not turn you into a fast reader. You will have to read, and continue to read voraciously so that you go on building your vocabulary. The basic difference between the fast and slow readers is that the fast reader is also a voracious reader with huge vocabulary and ability to comprehend different subjects. These are also the qualities that make them write faster.


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